The importance of taking adequate precautions towards protecting children’s skin from the lasting and harmful effects of the sun’s UV rays should not be underestimated. Even though you are unable to feel UV rays, this does not mean they are not present even on cloudy and dull days when you would normally think the sun would have no effect on the skin.
Young children and toddlers are particularly susceptible to sun burn even after short periods of exposure to the sun. Overexposure during the early part of life can lead to many health issues in later life such as the increased risk of developing skin cancer.
It is especially important that babies remain in complete shade as their delicate skin is unable to cope with the sun and for this reason it is essential that wherever possible they remain either indoors or under an awning, umbrella or similar shading solution such as a pram with a sun shade.
Whilst protecting very young children from the sun is essential, older children’s skin is capable of a bit more exposure. This should however be limited to only a few minutes unless adequate precautions are taken to protect their skin from burning.
Sun Cream – We have all been told this for years but many people still choose to ignore the advice of health care professionals around the world that the application of sun cream to the all the exposed parts of the body will enable prolonged exposure to the sun without the risk of burning. The sun cream should be of at least a factor 20 and needs to be liberally applied approx 30 minutes before exposure begins. This is to allow enough time for the cream to be absorbed by the skin for it to become effective. It is essential that the cream is reapplied at the specified period (on the bottle) and after swimming and drying with a towel as much of the cream will be removed leaving the skin more exposed than you may imagine.
Clothing – By ensuring children opt for long sleeves and trousers, the tightly woven fabric is the ideal solution for filtering harmful UV rays away from the body. When visiting extremely hot climates, it is also advisable to invest in a specialist sun suit that is tested to withstand and block all harmful rays.
Sunglasses – Often overlooked by many people, the sun can also cause lasting damage to the eyes and as such one of the simplest precautions is to ensure children wear sunglasses whenever possible. Having said that, to be effective they will need to be able to conform to BSEN1836:1997. These types of glasses are able to filter the amount of light entering the eyes and have been tested and approved by the relevant government body.
Solar Shading – One of the most effective methods of ensuring children remain safe whilst still fulfilling their desire to be outdoors on a hot day is to provide shaded areas under which they can play. Whilst most garden naturally provides shade thanks to trees and shrubs, in instances where there is no natural shading, the addition of high quality retractable sun awnings are a really sensible solution because large areas of shade can be created at the touch of a button. For this reason they are fast becoming a must have item for schools and nurseries who have a duty of care to protect youngsters from becoming burnt.